► 207bhp Duratorq is the new top diesel
► Available with twin-clutch auto only
► Tested in 5dr hatch form; estate available too
When we first drove the new (well, kind of new) Ford Mondeo at launch, this was the missing link in the engine line-up – the range-topping, twin-turbocharged 207bhp 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi. It was added to the brochure late in 2015 and is only now starting to filter through to market.
Previously the top diesel engine was the 178bhp single-turbo 2.0-litre TDCi, which didn’t quite bowl CAR’s testers over due to its slightly lethargic performance and narrow torque band. Fortunately, the new twin-turbo’s here to save the day. It’s available in top Titanium trim versions of the five-door hatch or estate, with a dual-clutch automatic ‘Powershift’ gearbox – which is the only transmission option.
So, is this the engine to fix the Mondeo then?
It is a more pleasant companion than the 178bhp TDCi, smooth and brisk enough without quite feeling outright fast. Although in five-door trim the car’s capable of 0-62mph in 7.9sec and 145mph, it doesn’t feel quite as quick as those figures (or the 332lb ft peak torque output) suggest, partly because the powertrain’s so quiet and smooth at speed.
The six-speed Powershift ’box is admirably unobtrusive, too. Although there are paddles behind the wheel, you’re unlikely to feel the need to use them since the box’s ratios and mapping are well matched to the engine.
Ford quotes a 58.9mpg average, although be aware that CAR’s long-term 178bhp 2.0 TDCi estate struggled to average 40mpg during its nine months on test, falling some way short of its official quoted 56.5mpg.
Helpfully, the twin-turbo’s 130g/km CO2 output is only a couple of grams more than the single-turbo version with the same auto gearbox.
What about the rest of the car?
The Mondeo’s big saloon ilk is becoming something of an endangered species as buyers trade up (in seat height at least) to SUVs and crossovers, but a mile or two in the Mondy makes you wonder why.
Even the five-door hatch gets a massive boot (and apparently the world’s heaviest tailgate to go with it – the struts on our test car struggled to lift it without a helping hand), plus a similarly roomy interior. There’s cushy ride quality too thanks to a soft (some might argue a little too soft, to the point of slightly wallowy body control at speed) suspension setup. Unlike the car pictured, our test car was further helped in this regard by fat Michelin Primacy tyres on 17in rims, which looked like castors under the Mondeo’s plus-size bodywork.
It’s a shame the interior’s marred by cheap-feeling materials and a collection of ergonomic quibbles; the touchscreen’s spoilt by tiny graphics and is tricky to see in bright sunlight, for example, and inexplicably enormous pillars descending from the dashboard block access to the too-shallow centre cubby.
You do get plenty of kit for your cash; auto lights and wipers, DAB radio, sat-nav, lane keeping assist and that 8in touchscreen are all standard with the Titanium trim. You’d have to shell out another £2000 for our test car’s optional Titanium X pack, which added much nicer seats (leather, heated, electrically powered) keyless entry, cruise control and LED headlamps with a slightly odd blue-ish tint to them.
You can read more about the Mondeo in our original first drive here and long-term estate test here.
Is the new engine worth the cash, then?
From a driving point of view, certainly. It costs only a few hundred pounds more than the equivalent 178bhp TDCi with the same Powershift gearbox, although that figure stretches to a little over £2000 compared with a manual version. If you (or, probably more likely, your company) is happy to stretch the extra then it’s the most pleasant diesel Mondeo engine to live with.
But is the rest of the car?
Well. It’s not as boring as VW’s Passat, which feels as if drains the colour from the trees as you drive past, but neither is it as fast, as economical or as nice inside. And a (admittedly boggo-spec) BMW 3-series wouldn’t be too much of a stretch above the top Mondeo’s asking price, either. Or you could have one of those fashionable SUVs.
The Mondeo’s a handsome, roomy, comfortable choice – albeit a slightly forgettable one.